Leonor Fini 1907 – 1996

I was introduced to artist, feminist, writer and designer, Leonor Fini while reading a book “Witches, Sluts, Feminists” by Kristen J Sollee. A phenomenal read especially for someone like me who is embracing her feminist witch more than ever – but more about that in a future post.

Leonor Fini

When I googled Leonor Fini, I was instantly hooked! Here was a woman living her life exactly how she wanted! A bohemian, glamazon, femme fatale with talent to burn! A self taught artist, she learned anatomy by studying corpses at the local morgue and techniques by the Old Masters through reading and museums.

She was part of a group exhibition in Milan before moving to Paris in 1931 where she was a huge hit in the art scene with her flamboyant and vivacious personality. She became close friends with surrealists including Salvador Dali, Paul Eluard and Max Ernst who briefly became her lover.

Fini never considered herself as a surrealist though and I agree. An accomplished portrait artist with a style more Renaissance and Mannerist. As quoted on her website “A predominant theme of Fini’s art is the complex relationship between the sexes, primarily the interplay between the dominant female and the passive, androgynous male. In many of her most powerful works, the female takes the form of a sphinx, often with the face of the artist.”

So much of her life mirrored mine, though unlike Fini, marriage (or should I say marriages) and children are a big part of my story! I am also a self taught artist who enjoys a bohemian lifestyle. Pansexual and polyamorous weren’t words thrown around back in the 20th century but there are always too many labels. One should live in ones own truth – life is too short for anything else!

Fini’s use of colour in skin, hair and water is beautifully iridescent and luminous. Her subjects seem sometimes other worldly, almost dreamlike. Painting many self portraits, others and her cats as well as the divine goddess, witch, mythology and skulls is very much reflective of my practice and the direction I want to pursue. I only hope I can leave a mark on the world as Fini has done!

Fini has illustrated books by Edgar Allen Poe and the Marquis de Sade – to name a few. Gender and sexuality along with the darker side of our psyche are well and truly embedded in her practice. All of this being the approach to my practice. Dark Beauty, sexuality and imperfection as beauty through the lens of my personal experience are all part of my artistic practice and artist like Fini resonate that for me.

Designing costumes for opera, a perfume bottle for Schiaparelli and 3 novels are only a few more strings to her bow. Fini was prolific when it came to her creative practice and worked tirelessly until her death in 1996 aged 88. Her art and inspiration live on. I can learn so much from such a talented, creative, feminist and I can only strive to have such a lucrative career and life as Leonor Fini!

Biography

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonor_Fini

Alyssa Monks

Alyssa is an American figurative painter that, like me, specialises in large oil paintings. Currently based in Brooklyn she predominantly paints the female form often portraying herself and others and the human experience.

Alyssa Monks

I came across Alyssa’s work in semester 1 and I’ve been smitten ever since. The way she layers the paint, creating texture and light is inspirational. Her current works blend flowers and nature as an overlay to the subject. The way she incorporates pattern, colour and texture is simply breathtaking. Her use of impasto has definitely driven a change in direction for me. A different technique that I am trying but yet to master. A combination of the way I blend but also texturising my paintings. The tension between realism and luminous floral overlay really resonates with my artistic practice.

I have always been attracted to the femme as subject while including surrealist and dream like qualities and mythology. My predominant issues leaning heavily to feminism and sexuality while trying to find new ways to merge all I want to say through my art, including my journey through life, love and loss. Alyssa’s artistic practice also combines everyday existence and life altering tragedy that has driven a new direction with her work.

Alyssa lost her mum to lung cancer in 2012. Like me she had watched her mum succumb to this horrific disease and after a year, eventually die. My mother died after a 10 month battle with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma when I was 8 months pregnant with my first child. These losses are huge and rock the very foundations of your existence. Unlike Alyssa I had a child to bring into the world and my painting didn’t start until 22 years after my mother passed and 6 months before my daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Though I had always been creative and did a lot of sketching, drawing and makeup, my life was taken over with raising children. But how grateful I was to have my artistic practice to fall to when my beautiful 20 year old daughter passed away after 8 weeks! Yes these horrendous tragedies make you question EVERYTHING! Life as you knew it no longer exists so I, too, painted! And I am still painting……..

Pandora – 40 x 40 inches – oil on linen 2019
Dhapeshifter – 62 x 90 inches – oil on linen 2019
Warrior – 62 x 90 inches – oil on linen 2019
Espial Study – 12 x 16 inches – oil on panel 2019
Scream II – 36 x 54 inces – oil on linen 2017
Set – 32 x 32 inches – oil on linens 2017
Become – 50 x 80 inches – oil on linen 2015

Alyssa has had solo exhibitions, been part of group exhibitions, won awards and grants. I envy her that she knew what she wanted to do at such a young age and her mother was so supportive. She received her MFA in 2001 from the New York Academy of Art and is Ranked 16 out of 30 in a list of the most influential women artist alive today by the graphic design degree hub. I can only hope to have a career as wonderful as hers. She really is an inspiration!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alyssa_Monks

Home

Critical Annotation!

Wow when I look over my last 6 posts I see 7 of the most amazing, strong and talented women. Some who I have only recently discovered, some I have known about for a long time and 2 that I am proud to call friends.

This journey of discovery has really opened my eyes not only to the art of some of these women but also their bravery. Life can be difficult at the best of times but to overcome adversities like accidents that leave you in extreme pain and disabled, the death of a sibling, rape, abortion, homophobia, chronic illness, equality, physical and drug abuse and to use those raw emotions to create art and bring awareness to these issues is a humongous feat! To bare your soul in your creativity and make yourself vulnerable is petrifying but that is what some of these strong women did and it is certainly something I try to do in my art. In fact artists like Frida Kahlo, Nan Goldin & Tracey Emin have given me permission to do just that!

As I have said in previous posts, my art is driven by my experiences, and while I have poured my heart out onto the canvas in many ways I think I have still been guarded and held the ugly truth back. Well not anymore! These wonderful women have given me the courage to open myself totally. To share my experiences through life, love and loss with total honesty – The good, the bad and the down right horrendous!

So while I still search for the best way to tell my story through my creativity the one thing I do know is that my future practice is going to be more auto biographical warts and all. It’s only by telling our stories and leaving ourselves vulnerable can we hope for a better world. We open a dialogue with our audience and hopefully some of it will resonate with others making us all feel less alone and validated.

Alabama Blonde

Alabama Blonde is a fashion designer, artist, creative director and musician who has recently moved from Melbourne to L.A. and is killing it! Specialising in genderless fashion with loads of latex and leather, I was blessed to meet and work with her 2 years ago when she was launching her “Du Mal” collection during Melbournes Fashion Festival. How could I resist volunteering to work at a fashion show at the Old Melbourne Gaol? It was right up my alley – this designer loved everything I did including skulls and roses, tattoos and all things creepy. I was hooked!

While studying the work of Stanford Meisner in NYC in her early 20’s she got a job as a session singer in some New York recording studios. In-between sessions she started working with leather, studding, pinning, gluing as she didn’t have a sewing machine. She moved back to Australia while completing her honours degree, and continued to play in punk bands. Fast forward to a few years later she was creating and casting her own films. She was nominated for the ‘Achievement in Casting’ Award by the Casting Guild of Australia. The premiere of her second film, Matrimony, was sold out in Melbourne, and following this, was invited to be headlined Subvrt magazine’s ‘Playhouse Grote3k’ Film Festival. “Matrimony was very dear to me, and the team with whom I collaborated with, as it addressed Australia’s political stance on gay marriage in a very necessary and confronting way aiming to acknowledge and champion the journey that it takes to commit to yourself, all of yourself, completely – despite all the odds, negativity, pity, judgment & moments in between.” Alabama said.

Matrimony was brilliant! I helped with that one also and many of the same faces were there as Du Mal. I made so many latex bows I lost count haha. Alabama has such a beautiful energy so she attracts amazing people that feels more like a party catching up with friends than a show.

Please tell us about your art.
I am a casting director and filmmaker. I believe in the power of film and moving image. It is such a powerful medium. For me, I want to make sure what I am putting out there is for good and for positive change. I didn’t get into this industry for any other reason. I have a sensitivity to the human experience and I think because of that, I am very passionate about telling stories which offer something that lingers long after the credits roll. Film is necessary escapism, necessary education and a way to find connection and understanding. I think we need an array of perspectives when it comes to film otherwise, we are only experiencing life and humanity through one lens – with which we cannot connect with and we cannot grow. That I have lived my life through a female lens. I believe I have had to prove myself more and I have had to fight for myself more. I have had more of an awareness of what I look like & how I am perceived, how I am meant to behave etc… and I have overcome all of that. I have fought to have my work and my word recognized for its worth, and not for its gender. But in that, I want to be able to create a platform for all identifying genders to have a voice.

I also continue to create garments under my label Alabama Blonde. I specialize in leather and latex and I do not believe garments should be categorized as simply male or female. We are beyond that. I like to work directly with clients to perfect the fit on their body, because feeling good and empowered in ourselves and in our garments is something I am very passionate about.

We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
I think being contacted for collaborations is wonderful – particularly if there is a concept someone has, and you immediately know they have hit you up specifically to execute that concept, because your work lends itself to that.

I think it’s important to have taken that time and put in that thought.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
@alabamablonde
I am relaunching my website http://www.alabamablonde.com

@striketheblonde_casting

Get in touch!

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
1) Hana Schlesinger 2) Ramy Youssef 3) Furmina Ahmed 4) Hana Schlesigner 5) Lloyd Galbraith 6) The Furies 7) Sequoia Emmanuelle 8) Ola Wilk

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Lizzo

“‘Cause I’m my own soulmate, I know how to love me
I know that I’m always gonna hold me down
Yeah, I’m my own soulmate, No I’m never lonely
I know I’m a queen but I don’t need no crown” – Lizzo, Soulmate Lyrics

Having a 12 year old daughter brought Lizzo into my life and I think she is absolutely fabulous! She is totally what young girls (and more mature girls like moi) needed to look up to. She is inspiration personified as far as I’m concerned and something girls have missed in the music scene with the likes of Brittany Spears and Ariana Grande. I mean Gaga is great but Lizzo really lifts the bar!

Melissa Viviane Jefferson aka Lizzo is big, black and beautiful with a ballsy, sassy attitude, she’s not afraid to put it all out there and say what she wants. A classically trained flautist, rapper, singer and songwriter – this bitch has got it all going on! When I was growing up the curviest girl I had to aspire to was Elle McPherson! The feeling of never being good enough, skinny enough or pretty enough (reminds me of that other awesome song “Not Pretty Enough” by Kasey Chambers) was constantly being reinforced through the media & fashion houses. Any wonder I had such an unhealthy relationship with food and alcohol, becoming anorexic in my early twenties. Remember this was the age of Kate Moss and heroin chic. Stick figure models ruled the runway and were literally clothes hangers for the designers!

When I look back now I think I understand why I wanted to draw beautiful strong women because they were everything I wasn’t but wanted to be. Damn I wish I’d had a role model like Lizzo back then! But thank the Gods & Goddesses we have her now. Lizzo has used her live performances to remind her fans of their self-worth between songs. “I want you to look in the mirror and say, ‘I love you, you are beautiful, and you can do anything,” she said on stage in Glastonbury.

Nominated for 8 Grammy Awards this year and taking out 3, Lizzo by her own declaration, has been at the forefront of the positive movement. Which positive movement? All of them. She’s sex positive, body positive (hers and yours), vocally practices self-love and self-care. “I am a pioneer in creating modern self-love, body-positive music,” she explains.

If I’m shinin’, everybody gonna shine (yeah, I’m goals)
I was born like this, don’t even gotta try (now you know)
I’m like chardonnay, get better over time (so you know)
Heard you say I’m not the baddest, bitch, you lied. It ain’t my fault that I’m out here gettin’ loose
Gotta blame it on the Goose
Gotta blame it on my juice, baby
It ain’t my fault that I’m out here makin’ news
I’m the pudding in the proof
Gotta blame it on my juice – Lizzo Juice lyrics

I’m with Lizzo all the way. We need more beautiful, talented people like this in our world! The feel good, happy, positive people that let you know you are good enough & pretty enough – we all got it! So these are the beauties I want to be painting, that I will be painting because gorgeous isn’t a size or a look, gorgeous is the light and love that shines from within!

Come now, come dry your eyes
You know you a star, you can touch the sky
I know that it’s hard but you have to try
If you need advice, let me simplifyIf he don’t love you anymore
Just walk your fine ass out the doorI do my hair toss, check my nails
Baby, how you feelin’? (Feelin’ good as hell)
Hair toss, check my nails
Baby, how you feelin’? (Feelin’ good as hell)
(Feeling good as hell)
Baby, how you feelin’? (Feelin’ good as hell) – Lizzo, Good as Hell lyrics

https://www.thecut.com/amp/2019/02/lizzo-flute-pop-star.html

https://www.vogue.in/culture-and-living/content/lizzo-life-lessons-we-can-all-learn-from

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lizzo

Tracey Emin

Wow when I first looked up this chick after Sally, (my supervisors) suggestion, I was blown away! Here was an artist putting it all out there in a way I had only dreamt about doing. Raw, vulnerable and passionate, putting her whole life out to the world through her art. I thought this chick is so brave – its what I want to do! I want to express myself like this – warts and all!

I’ve previously dabbled with writing a blog as a way to talk about my life and what I’ve been through. I had often been told I should write a book about my crazy life but a book just seemed way out of my depths – I’m a visual artist – and though I write prose that’s not a book! I have a tonne of notes and musings that really intensified when my daughter got sick but there were so many other things I wanted to vent so a blog seemed like a great way of putting my thoughts down without having to be linear about it. So “Sex and the Catholic girl aka Memoirs of a slut” was born. Little did I know how many girls would contact me identifying with my experiences but little did I think that some of my family wouldn’t like it. Anyway in the end I stopped as I became too busy with other things including my painting.

Emin’s artwork “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With” is sheer brilliance. I remember my cousin and I sitting down over drinks one night back in the late 90’s making lists of all our lovers up to that point. I wish I had thought to keep them. The way Emin chose to represent the work using a tent with all the names embroidered on it is fantastic. Her work “The Bed” is also autobiographical like many of her pieces and it resonated with me deeply having spent so many days in bed in the year or 2 after my daughter died. It was my sanctuary, my office, my dining room, bar, hide out, drug den – home! The fact that Emin uses it – sees it – as omg this is me I’m going to use it, is so courageous! She uses a lot of different media to create her works and that is also something I do and definitely something I want to focus more on also. Though painting, writing and photography are my main media, I have done a few installation pieces and there is something really tangible you can evoke with installation that is harder to convey with paintings. Tracey’s work encourages me to do more and to dig deep inside my psyche.

My art has always been about my life. It’s been my therapy and catharsis through by far THE most horrendous experiences of my life – the death of my beautiful daughter Star. I have lost so many of my loved ones but this one I couldn’t reconcile with at all! Art helped me find my voice when I couldn’t find the words. I still have so much to say and I am loving this process of doing my MFA, being prodded, pushed, guided, shown – its like a beacon to me. A lighthouse guiding me home after being thrown into the depths and darkness. The lecturers, my supervisor, the other artists are all enriching me and teaching me so much that sometimes I feel my head will explode but I am just soaking it all in and letting it marinate and ferment because I know I will be so much closer to the artist I want to be at the end of it!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tracey_Emin

https://www.saatchigallery.com/artists/tracey_emin.htm

Rae Morris

There is so much I can say about my mentor, amazing artist, friend and all round wonderful human, Rae Morris, but I’ll try and keep it brief.

Four times Australian makeup artist of the year, Rae Morris is also a best selling author, has designed her own brush range and is known around the world as one of the most influential makeup artists. I met Rae in 2003 when she presented me with my award for Hair and Makeup Artist of the Year. A qualified hairdresser, her story is so amazing with the chances she took along the way that have helped get her to where she is now with an enviable career.

I worked with Rae at LMFF (Loreal Melbourne Fashion Festival) for 4 years and on occasions when she was in Melbourne for commercial and fashion editorial projects. Rae has worked on every top model and celebrity you can think of including Pink, Kelly Rowland, The Minogues, Miranda Kerr – I could be here all day! She has vast knowledge of working with hair and makeup as well as models and has always been generous with that knowledge hence why she wrote the books so everyone would have access to the tricks of the trade. Makeup has a way of making you feel great about yourself. Detracting from the things you don’t like about yourself and enhancing the things you do. It can be very empowering to be working in someones personal space, getting to know them – people tend to tell you details they normally wouldn’t share with others like a therapist – and making them feel really good about themselves. It can be an extension of your personality or outfit or a mask to hide behind, either way it is a brilliant tool for self expression, enhancement and camouflage.

Rae Morris

https://raemorris.com/portfolio/

Being a makeup artist really honed my skills as an artist and working with Rae was the catalyst. Her skill as an artist and her approach to everything is such an inspiration to me. She never loses her cool even on long days and taught me so much that can really only be learned on the job! Learning how to think in your feet, nothings a mistake, it’s only makeup, you can pretty much use any product for anything haha! I learned the contours of the face, body, blending, colour matching, light and shade, colour contrasts – and I’m still learning – though aren’t we all? These skills gave me the confidence to start painting. Something I’d always wanted to do but never felt ready! When I was drawing in my teens and twenties I never felt good enough but after 12 years of hair and makeup I was ready to throw caution to the wind and start painting faces on canvas.

Rae’s lessons, her eye and how to do beautiful skin is what I use in my paintings today. I crop and recolour photos as references for my work. All the years of practicing on live models as my canvas was a blessing and has really made me the artist I am today.

Some of Rae’s work for Vogue

I too have been lucky enough to work with many celebrities including Miranda Kerr, Jennifer Hawkins and Margot Robbie to name a few. I hope one day I get the opportunity to paint some well known faces on canvas and tell their stories. It would be a dream to be shortlisted in The Archibald!

Nan Goldin

I have many artists who inspire my work but I’ve been struggling to fine artists who are relevant to my practice. Then Sally gave me a few names of artists to look at, one of which was Nancy Goldin!

Nan Goldin is an American photographer who’s work explores LGBT community, intimacy and the opioid epidemic. All these issues are relevant to me and my life and practice. Like many artists my life experience is what I put into my art and I really want to be able to do that in a way that is easily conceivable by my audience. Our life experiences are very similar in many ways and she has used much of that in her work. Her older sister committed suicide when Nan was 11 and in 1965 (when I was born) Suicide was very much a taboo subject – I think death in Western culture still is a subject that is not discussed, especially the death of a child! Nan Said “I saw the role that her sexuality and its repression played in her destruction. Because of the times, the early sixties, women who were angry and sexual were frightening, outside the range of acceptable behavior, beyond control. By the time she was eighteen, she saw that her only way to get out was to lie down on the tracks of the commuter train outside of Washington, D.C. It was an act of immense will.” It is devastating that these things happen and keep happening! I know what it’s like first hand to feel the only way out is death – it seems so logical when you’re in that situation but that’s depression! I can imagine the impact this had on her.

We both started smoking marijuana around the same age. I was drawing the rock chicks that so inspired me, Nan was given a camera and started taking phots to help deal with her sisters death. Her first solo exhibition was on gay and transgender people, hoping to show them as a third gender and shine a light on them with love and respect. Though Nan was mainly working with Drag Queens and while I have worked with many too (seriously amazing makeup skills) I have many gay and trans experienced (this is the term my cousin prefers so I use it too) friends and family. To be victimised for any reason is beyond my comprehension! To be victimised because of your race, age, gender, religion or sexual orientation is just ludicrous! It saddens me immensely the world in which I find myself. The fact that it took so long for marriage equality blows my mind!

She has worked in the fashion industry taking photos for Scanlon and Theodore, Dior and Jimmy Choo to name a few. This industry is one I know well being a hair and makeup artist having worked on commercial shoots and with celebrities including Jennifer Hawkins, Margot Robbie and Miranda Kerr to name but a few. My mentor was and still is Rae Morris so maybe I need to do a blog on her – she is beyond brilliantly talented and one of the nicest people you could ever meet and so generous with her knowledge and time. Anyhow I digress – though I worked in the fashion/beauty industry it never really sat right with me because a) the photoshopping that took place on models/celebrities leaving a mere mortal to feel so disenfranchised, ugly, fat, amongst a myriad of other self loathing emotions and b) the amount of money spent on advertising including $40,000 for a model for one and a half days of filming! Now this is nothing against models as they are lovely people (mostly) but the fact that someone can be paid such amounts of money merely because they won the genetic lottery as opposed to say a brain surgeon who has gone to school for years, studied hard and spent a fortune in university fees and still doesn’t get close to that amount just seems crazy!! But I was part of the monster so you know glass houses and all that hahah!

Now while Nan lost her sister at a young age, I didn’t start losing people till I was 22 when my beautiful friend Karen was killed in a car accident and unfortunately its been a rather steady stream of lives gone far too soon since. I won’t list all my loves that have gone too soon for I would be here or ever but the main ones that really cracked my foundation, leaving permanent flaws are my mother in 1993 at the age of 51 when I was 8 months pregnant with my first child I’m now older than my mum ever was), my beautiful girlfriend Lynne who died at 36 in 1997 leaving her 2 young boys and of course my daughter Star who died at 20 in 2016 – this one by far is the WORST!!! This one is why I started painting! Star is the reason I am on this journey of self discovery, awarenesses and creativity and why I sit here doing this blog for my MFA. If I hadn’t painted through my pain and devastation I would have killed myself. If it wasn’t for my art and my 3 other amazing children I would not be here and I am so grateful to still be here!

So Nan also got addicted to Oxycontin which is an opioid drug prescribed for pain. I got addicted to a different opioid – Hydra morphine! God damn that stuff is good! Even as I sit here now and mention that word the receptors in my brain go “hell yeah bring that shit on” haha but coming off it cold turkey IS NOT fun! But that my friend sis a whole different blog.

So to summarise Nan Goldin is creating out of her experience with pain, life, loss and love and also trying to bring awareness to others of all of the above. This is what I dream of being able to do with my art! I want to be in your face, no beating around the bush, make you feel uncomfortable creative because I have a message and if I can do that by being raw and honest and vulnerable like creatives like Nan then let’s do it!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nan_Goldin

A load of Nan Goldin works here https://www.moca.org/collection/work/ectopic-pregnancy-scar-new-york-city

Nan Goldin

Millicent Kahlo!

When we adopted a little cavoodle rescue dog I wanted to give her a brilliant name with meaning. Frida Kahlo is one of our favourite artists (mine and my daughters) but Frida didn’t quite suit her so I googled womens rights activists – or something along those lines – and came across Millicent Fawcett, and Millicent Kahlo was born!

Milli!

Frida Kahlo is such an inspiration for me as an artist and a woman! She is probably the most famous female artist and disabled artist. Painting her emotions and feelings onto the canvas is exactly what I do though I’m still finding my way – Frida was excellent at articulating that so well in her work. Pain and death feature a lot in her works and that is certainly what I was painting through also with the death of my daughter. Her use of colour and self, mixing reality with elements of surrealism (though she never classed herself as a surrealist) and fantasy is something I do with my artwork. She suffered most of her life with pain and surgeries, miscarriages, affairs with both genders and painting really was her escape and catharsis. For someone who died young – aged 47 – she lived a very full life. I think my admiration for Frida is because we have so much in common with physical and emotional pain. Like Frida painting is my therapy and my saviour, without it I doubt I’d be sane – than again aren’t we all mad? Our thoughts on life and death are intertwined and we both portray that through our art. I’ll leave you with this quote by Frida that resonates to my soul “I joyfully await the exit – and I hope never to return – Frida” (“Espero Alegre la Salida – y Espero no Volver jamás”).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frida_Kahlo

Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón

Millicent Fawcett was an English political leader, activist, writer and feminist icon. She was the leader of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) which was Britain’s largest women’s rights organisations. She campaigned for womens suffrage legally via legislative change as opposed to other suffragist parties who used violence. She explains her disaffiliation from the more militant movement in her book Women’s Suffrage: A Short History of a Great Movement:

I could not support a revolutionary movement, especially as it was ruled autocratically, at first, by a small group of four persons, and latterly by one person only…. In 1908, this despotism decreed that the policy of suffering violence, but using none, was to be abandoned. After that, I had no doubt whatever that what was right for me and the NUWSS was to keep strictly to our principle of supporting our movement only by argument, based on common sense and experience and not by personal violence or lawbreaking of any kind

She wrote: “I cannot say I became a suffragist. I always was one, from the time I was old enough to think at all about the principles of Representative Government.” I couldn’t agree more! I can’t even remember a time when womens issues and equality weren’t at the forefront of my thinking. The awareness has always been there for me. Maybe it’s because I had younger brothers who were always allowed to do more the me because my parents weren’t as worried about them or the fact I grew up in a neighbourhood full of boys? Whatever the reason feminism (and I used to hate that term) is very much still a high priority for me.

Over the years she backed countless campaigns including raising the age of consent to curb child abuse, cruelty to children, criminalising incest, stamping out the white slave trade, repealing the contagious diseases act and its double standard to name a few. In 1925 she was appointed Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire and in 2018 she became the first woman to be commemorated with a statue in Parliament Square. She has a list of credits, books and articles as long as your arm and that is why she is such an inspiration to me and why my beautiful dog is named after her.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millicent_Fawcett


These two women make me want to be a better person, a better artist and to keep fighting for the rights of women! To try to bring about social change, a better world for all full of kindness and compassion one painting at a time

Critical Annotation!

I was really blunt and honest with my dossier and while I did have an idea of what artists I was going to include, it really came down to how I was feeling in the moment. It has been a rather turbulent time for me having to move house again (after only 6 months) and then of course Covid19 and everything that entailed but the MFA course going online did actually make life so much easier haha!

I know I am inspired by so many mediums including music and the world around me but photographers seem to inspire me the most. Especially those that work in fashion and editorial as they tend to create images that correlate to my artistic practice. Images of beautiful women, nudes, fashion and avant guarde – new and experimental, ahead of their time! 

I’m also inspired by creatives that are unapologetically true to themselves. Rebellious and in your face sometimes but stand by their convictions and their art – like it or not! I create for me, not for anyone else – the fact that others like it is really just the cream on top.

While I’m painting , and when I’m not, I constantly have music playing – sometimes a song will get stuck in my head with a painting, sometimes I’m awake in the early hours and that song is still there going around in my head!  To say music is a huge part of who I am would be an understatement!  Not only am I surrounded by musicians in my family but I did own a recording studio with my first husband and I used to draw bad ass rock chicks in my late teens.  It is as much a part of my creativity as my painting though more through poetry and prose.  

Funnily enough my blogs have mainly contained male creatives which is an interesting observation considering its women and the female form that I am most inspired by as well as feminist issues.  Maybe that is something I can focus on more in my future blogs….

Speak No Evil – Leesa Gray-Pitt